Jacqueline Hill
17th November 1980

The Yorkshire Ripper's final victim - could she have been saved?

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Jacqueline Hill

Jacqueline Hill


The Yorkshire Ripper's final victim was Jacqueline Hill. Aged just 20 and in the third year of her course at Leeds University, she attended a seminar for probation officers on the evening of November 17th 1980. It was a cold, rainy night and her bus journey home to her halls of residence in Headingley took her to the Arndale centre - an unlovely shopping development in the heart of the district.

With only 100 yards between the bus stop and her residence, it was the smallest of windows during which Sutcliffe saw her. He was sat in his car, eating a KFC when he saw his chance. As with his last two murders, he parked the car ahead of her and got out once she passed. Hitting her with a single blow, he was nearly interrupted by a passer by, walking on the same road.

He hauled Jacqueline into a standing position and dragged her to some waste ground behind the Arndale Centre. There, he performed his last acts of mutilation - stabbing her torso and eye with a screwdriver.

Despite a student finding her handbag and blood spots within half an hour of the attack, a cursory police search of the area failed to find sundry other items of her effects or her body and it wasn't until 10 the next morning that the owner of one of the shops saw the body behind the centre.

Suspicions remain to this day that had the police carried out a more diligent search then Jacqueline might possibly have been found and survived. The keen-eyed observation of the student that Jacqueline's handbag had blood-spots was not enough to provoke anything other than a brief search of the area where it was found, but as dawn broke and her body was found it was clear that the police had been within 100 yards of her body - and given the timing of the attack, she may well still have been alive.

"I pulled Miss Hill's clothes off, most of them. I had a screwdriver on me, I think it had a yellow handle and a bent blade. I stabbed her in her lungs. Her eyes were wide open and she seemed to be looking at me with an accusing stare. This shook me up a bit, I jabbed the screwdriver into her eye but they stayed open, and I felt worse than ever. I left her lying on her back with her feet towards the entrance. I think she was dead when I left." - Peter Sutcliffe

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